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Development of the “Kalmer” relaxation intervention: co-design with stroke survivors with aphasia

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posted on 13.05.2022, 15:20 by Rebecca El-Helou, Brooke Ryan, Ian Kneebone

Anxiety is common after stroke and more prevalent in survivors with aphasia. Relaxation is an effective first-line therapy. The current study aimed to obtain the perspectives of stroke survivors with aphasia to inform the development of an accessible, technology-based, relaxation intervention.

Qualitative co-design methods were used with twelve people with aphasia after stroke. The “Kalmer” Relaxation treatment package materials were iteratively based on participants’ experiences and preferences; barriers and facilitators to treatment compliance were explored. Participants were also asked to consider how the intervention might be evaluated in a research trial.

A thematic analysis highlighted the importance and need for the development of an appropriate and inclusive relaxation product, to be implemented by health professionals early post-stroke. Several behavioural strategies to improve treatment adherence were recommended. Participants had varying perspectives on clinically meaningful treatment outcomes.

Overall, a co-designed accessible relaxation product was viewed as a necessary component of usual stroke care. Acceptability and feasibility and preliminary efficacy of the “Kalmer” intervention should be trialled in future studies. IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION

Co-designing psychological interventions for people with aphasia after stroke is needed to meet the needs of this at-risk population.

Technology-based relaxation interventions to manage anxiety after stroke are viewed positively by people with aphasia and deemed acceptable and feasible.

Clinical trials of these co-designed relaxation interventions are required before recommending integration into routine practice.

Co-designing psychological interventions for people with aphasia after stroke is needed to meet the needs of this at-risk population.

Technology-based relaxation interventions to manage anxiety after stroke are viewed positively by people with aphasia and deemed acceptable and feasible.

Clinical trials of these co-designed relaxation interventions are required before recommending integration into routine practice.

Funding

This research received a specific grant from the University of Technology Sydney CTCS Grant Seed funds—to the Stroke and Relaxation Trial.

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